Anyone in D'Aguilar Street last Saturday would have seen Allan Zeman knee-deep in wooden packing crates, bubble wrap and shredded paper. Amid the mess lay his latest acquisitions - a treasure trove of Thai antiques that will decorate his new restaurant, Thai Lemongrass. The new place, in the basement below California, will have silk walls, low lighting and a private room. The menu is likely to do for Thai food what Indochine did for Vietnamese food - take it upmarket but not too far away from its roots. Thai Lemongrass is scheduled to open mid-April. Tel: 2905-1688. Cookbook tips tend towards patronising French restaurant La Brasserie has put out the best advert for the venue so far - a 120-page bilingual cookbook by The Marco Polo hotel's executive chef, Angelo McDonnell. The 48 recipes are a fair representation of French provincial cuisine. Dishes include lobster bisque, curly endive salad, baked garlic snails, crispy skin pan-fried salmon and potato pancake. But the collection presentation has none of the restaurant's style or character. It also dips into the trite and patronising with its tips. These include gems such as 'baked garlic snails is a rich and very tasty appetiser', 'the cooking degree of vegetables is a personal choice' and 'do not overcook king prawns'. Others are marginally more useful: 'do not taste the cooked caramel as it is very hot' and 'sauerkraut platter is generally served with boiled potatoes'. Perhaps the restaurant should stick to its cooking - and roast its publisher. Beijing festival sets up mock Lan Kwai Fong Lan Kwai Fong has moved to Beijing this week for a four-day Hong Kong extravaganza. A mock street has been set up, complete with miniature restaurants including California, Il Mercato, Va Bene, 97, La Dolce Vita, Cafe des Artistes and Oscar's. Aside from the authentic cobble stone street and a genuine desire to show people a good time, there's precious little else about the prime restaurant area that has made it over the border. For one thing, everything is nailed down and behind glass to avoid damage as an expected 150,000 people tramp through the show. Another essential ingredient is missing - food. This display will not include tempting the crowds with hot and happening specialities. However, says Lan Kwai Fong Association chairman, Richard Feldman, promotions have been organised at various bars and restaurants to give Beijingers a taste of what Lan Kwai Fong is about. Restaurant opens bar to pull in crowds La Trattoria in The Landmark has recognised the value of Hong Kong's extremely high drink prices. The 18-month-old restaurant, run by the Jimmy's Kitchen group, is adding a dedicated bar area to draw Central bar flies who might otherwise head off to Lan Kwai Fong. The formal atmosphere of the restaurant is also being dumped in favour of a more relaxed, intimate air. General manager Frank Rourke is hoping that appealing to the happy hour crowd will translate into more dinner business. The Trattoria Bar is due to open on April 3.